Masses and Lipomas
Finding out you have a mass can be confusing and scary. You may be asking, “Where did it come from? What do I do now?” and feeling very overwhelmed with specific questions. One of the goals of Treasure Valley Hospital physicians is to make you feel educated and well-prepared for any medical issue you may experience.
How Do You Know if You Have a Mass or Lipoma?
If you find a lump on your body, use your fingers to examine the area and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a definite difference between the lump and your normal tissue?
- Is it causing pain or any other symptoms in that area of your body?
- Is it hard, or soft and doughy?
- Has it been growing rapidly or slowly?
- Have you been experiencing nausea or headaches?
If you answered yes to these questions, it is recommended to make an appointment with your doctor to get a medical opinion.
How Do Masses and Lipomas Develop?
A mass is an abnormal lump in the body. It is either formed by a cyst, hormonal/immune reactions, or overgrowth of cells. A mass caused by a cyst might be filled with fluid, while abnormal cell growth often feels soft and moveable.
A Lipoma is a specific kind of mass built up from fatty tissue that is non-cancerous. It is not clear exactly what causes lipomas, but here are two possible causes:
- Genetics (Adiposis Dolorosa, Cowden Syndrome, Gardener's Syndrome, Madelung's Disease)
- Previous injury
Diagnosis and Treatment for Masses and Lipomas
If a mass becomes painful and does not shrink or disappear within a few weeks, you should contact your doctor for an assessment. Here are some steps you can expect your doctor to take to help diagnose the mass and offer treatment to you:
Your doctor will need to physically examine the lump to confirm its position, size, and type.
Your doctor will then recommend taking a sample of the tissue, known as a biopsy. The collected sample of cells will be examined to ensure the mass is benign and assist with diagnosis.
If the mass does not go away on its own or causes pain or other medical issues, your doctor may recommend surgery. If the mass is larger or deeper, you will probably receive an MRI or CT scan so your doctor can see the mass's position before surgery. Please read our blog about surgery preparation to learn more.
You may be able to avoid surgery in some cases through liposuction, but this is not always possible.
Recovery from Masses and Lipomas
Typically, it takes a few days to subside the tenderness, a couple of weeks for any bruises or swelling to decrease, and between 3-6 months for full recovery depending on the growth's size and depth.
Why Choose Treasure Valley Hospital for Your Surgery?
Treasure Valley Hospital is Idaho's #1 physician-owned hospital. We have some of the top surgeons in Idaho who are experienced and well versed in the latest medical/surgical techniques. Our surgical and clinical staff specialize in caring for orthopedic, ENT, and neurosurgical patients. Our goal is to provide high-quality, low-cost personalized care to each one of our patients. Learn more about why patients choose Treasure Valley Hospital or about our Core Values.